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Mon 1 Feb 2010 07:53 AM

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Saudi haemorrhagic flu 'no cause for alarm'

Official confirms seven cases of Al-Khurma flu; no specific medicine to treat sufferers.

Saudi’s Ministry of Health has confirmed seven cases of the Al-Khurma haemorrhagic influenza in Makkah and Najran, but stressed that there was no cause for alarm.

Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeah assured the public that there was no need to be concerned because there have only been a limited number of people diagnosed with the disease since 1994.

However, there is no specific medicine to treat sufferers, according to a report in daily newspaper the Saudi Gazette.

“The ministry and related authorities have taken many preventive and precautionary measures against the Al-Khurma disease,” Al-Rabeah said, adding that that joint committees and working teams consisting of experts from the Kingdom and abroad have been formed to develop a national plan for countering the haemorrhagic flu.

The newspaper said the Al-Khurma virus is passed on to humans by ticks that live in animals such as sheep, goats and camels. Pets such as cats and rabbits can also carry the ticks.

Preventive measures include wearing gloves when handling raw uncooked meat. Livestock should be checked periodically to ensure that they are free of ticks, and suitable insecticides should be used to kill the insects on the animals. Furthermore, people should not drink unpasteurised milk.

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